Black Staircase Railing, DIY

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April 13, 2015 by beriel79

It was love at first sight.  At first glance our foyer was open, airy, and had a gorgeous curved staircase.  (It also was disgustingly dirty and had about 10 yrs of soot caked on it — but that’s a story for another day!)  The staircase is one of my favorite things about our house.  The only problem is our house was built in ’86 and the wood railing was looking quite tired and outdated.  On Houzz I had seen several black railings that I thought looked very sharp.  (http://www.houzz.com/black-staircase-railing) Since we have a lot of black accents on our house I decided to do it.

Step 1:  MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU WANT A BLACK RAILING.  YOU CAN NOT GO BACK TO WOOD EASILY.

Step 2:  Tape, tape, tape, and tape!  Cover any flooring (in my case carpet) with drop cloths and/or tape.  I used blue painters tape and went around the bottom of each baluster.  The taping took longer than the actual painting!  Take your time though — this is a very important step to getting professional results.

Step 3:  Clean balusters, apply primer to balusters, apply paint to balusters.  In my case they were already white and didn’t require anything more than 1 coat of white trim paint.  I decided also to paint the underneath side of the railing white.  You will see why this is easier in the next step.  I used Benjamin Moore Regal Semi-gloss in White Dove.

Step 4:  Once the white paint is dry (at least 12 hours) you will need to tape again.  This time it’s a quicker job — you only need to tape the under side of the railing as shown below.  Press hard to make sure you have a good seal so none of the black paint leaks onto the white.  The sharp lines are important in getting a professional result.  It is much easier to paint it this way (keeping the bottom of the railing white) rather than cutting in the black around each and every baluster while you’re hanging upside-down!

Step 5:  Clean the railing and de-gloss.  There are many different brands of de-glossers (aka liquid sand paper) but I like to use:

It takes the shine off the surface and helps the primer to stick better.

Step 6:  Prime the railing.  Anytime I paint wood that was previously painted or varnished. (cabinets, railings, doors, furniture) I use Stix Primer by Benjamin Moore.  It’s the best.  It remains a bit tacky when dry and really helps the paint to adhere.

Step 7:  Apply the black paint.  I used Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Jet Black.  It chips less easily than regular latex and hardens more like oil (even though it’s water based).  You will likely need 2 or more coats to cover the white primer.

Step 8:  Let the whole railing dry at least 24 hours before removing the tape.  Once dry, remove tape and you’re done!

It looks modern, fresh, and gives our foyer and upstairs hall a more finished look.  I love it!

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Rebecca is a mom, wife, real estate broker, decorator, party planner, chicken keeper, and gardener

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